Targeted Prayer

Deer hunter taking aim

It was a cold January morning during deer season when about three dozen hearty souls gathered at the church as part of their 30 days of prayer.

I had been asked to give a testimony for one day and I was nervous as I walked to the front

I said, “Our pastor has asked me to speak on broken relationships.”

I took a deep breath, and picked up a gun case from off the front row.
Normally at 6 am people are barely able to keep their eyes open, this morning I felt everyone’s eyes clued to me as I unlocked the case and pulled out a rifle.

“I have found the perfect answer for this,” as I cradled the gun, taking care not to point it at the front row.

I had everyone’s attention, nobody was asleep now.

“Targeted Prayer!” I shouted.

The pastor had asked me to clear my presentation with the security team before speaking as he said he didn’t want our church to be making the national news for all the wrong reasons. I didn’t want to either, so I made sure they knew the gun was unloaded beforehand.

“What is this?” I asked, as I held up the scoped rifle.

“A gun?” An elderly saint hesitantly suggested.

“Yes, but what kind of gun?”

Finally from the back row, “A rifle!”

“Thank you!”

“What do you hunt with a rifle?’

“Deer,” several sang out, with, “bear,” and “pig” added in.

“Can I hunt ducks with this?”

“No,” came from several around the room.

“What do I hunt ducks with?”

“Shotgun!” Called out others.

“Would you go hunting for deer with a shotgun filled with birdshot?”
“No, that’s silly.”

I explained that too often our prayer life is like hunting a deer with birdshot. We say well meaning words like, “God bless everyone in the U.S. or church,” or “God please help the missionaries.” This is very vague and we need to be more accurate.

“What is this?”


“What does this rifle fire?”


“What does the rifle have inside that helps the accuracy of the shot?”
“Grooves,” “Rifling” were shouted out.

“How does that help?”

“The more the bullet is spun by the grooves, the more straight and accurate it flies.”

“Can you see the bullet when it is fired?”


“Can you see the impact it makes when it hits?”


Prayer is a lot Like hunting. Our prayers are invisible but you can see the impact in people’s lives. Today we are looking at broken relationships and it is important that we pray specifically by name for people in these situations. When you pray for someone by name and then that prayer is answered we can rejoice that God has answered our prayers. Write down the names of those you are praying for today.


  1. Shirley Randall

    Seeing a rifle in the church would definitely have my attention. A good illustration. I enjoyed reading it. So glad you have your website and blog now.

  2. Fran Manley

    Thanks, Mark, for this clear example of targeted, specific prayer and how great the impact can be.
    (We served in Harare and Gweru as music missionaries back in the mid to late 80s.). We love your parents.
    God bless you always,
    Fran and Michael Manley

  3. Jimmy Atkins

    God always answers our prayers,but sometimes it is not what we want to hear. The key is as you said, pray specifically and we also definitely need to pray in God’s will. We hear sometimes yes, no, not yet. We should not let our feet go where God has not led. Draw nigh unto God and he will draw nigh unto you. Resist the devil and he has to flee from you. God bless you and keep you in Jesus name. Amen

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